In this article, we look at the state of the consumer research industry, its problems, strengths and where it is heading. Gathered from our opinion pieces over the last few months, we build an alarming picture of the industry and how best to fix it.
The biggest change in the consumer research industry over the last 20 years has been the drastic decline of traditional surveys. In 1997, the average response rate to surveys was around 36%. By 2003, it was 25%. By 2014, it was 9%. Now, despite decades of vast technological advancements, the completion rate for a given survey has fallen below 2% on average. This demise of engagement boils down to three key aspects of traditional surveys – length, design and purpose.
Despite the advancements in technology and failures of traditional surveys, the market research industry has been extremely slow to adapt to online surveys. Even when they are used, they suffer from the same inflictions as traditional surveys. For online surveys to be any different from their traditional predecessors, they must prioritise the respondent experience. At Bounce, we have identified 4 key problems respondents encountered and how to fix them.
Online panels may provide a cheaper, scalable solution compared to traditional survey panels, however, there are issues to be aware of. Ensuring quality responses is the largest challenge for online panel providers. 46% of the respondents you get from online panels are disengaged, fraudulent or low quality and few researchers do enough to weed out these poor respondents. The consumer research industry must start demanding more transparency in its online panels and take personal responsibility to incorporate data quality into your research process in order to tackle these widespread quality issues.
The gap between the expectations and the reality of the market research industry are disappointing to say the least. Due to a race for the lowest costs possible, clients must settle for mediocrity in the research they buy. Unless clients start demanding better, and being willing to pay for demonstrably improved quality, no incentive to improve exists and we’ll continue to be stuck where we are today.
One of the biggest problems plaguing the market research industry is low engagement rates. In order to transform the engagement, quality and speed at which research can and should be carried out, we believe a few areas need to be reconsidered to sculpt the future of panels across the world. From better mobile experiences to data-driven verification which will improve quality, they are many steps to be taken before online panels can reach their full potential.